The Standards Blog

Coming Soon to a DVD Store Near You: MicroSoft (One Way or the Other)

Open Source/Open Standards

Not so long ago (April 21, to be exact) it was reported that the long-running battle for next-gen DVD supremacy being waged between the Blu-Ray Group camp (led by Sony) and the HD-DVD forces (commanded by NEC and Toshiba, et al.) might result in truce. Well, that didn't work out, so it's back to the arms race.

Not so long ago (April 21, to be exact) it was reported that the long-running battle for next-gen DVD supremacy being waged between the Blu-Ray Group camp (led by Sony) and the HD-DVD forces (commanded by NEC and Toshiba, et al.) might result in a truce.

Well, those negotiations apparently fell apart, and the two sides returned to the arms race of building up the most formidible cadres of supporters of all types possible, in order to roll the opposition and reap the licensing spoils that would flow to the victor. Those efforts have been as far-ranging and creative as Sony's bid to acquire MGM, in part to commit its extensive movie library to the Blu-Ray format.

Now, turn the clock back to October 19 of last year, when John Dvorak wrote a short piece entitled Suspicious Battle Dept. At that time, Dvorak was noting that the Blu-Ray Group had adopted Microsoft's VC-1 video codec, and opined "There is some scheme afoot here." Probably so. But it now appears that the wily Gates has (surprise) been playing both sides against the middle. Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the HD-DVD Group (which includes, you'll recall, Toshiba -- with whom Microsoft recently concluded a major cross-licensing deal) will include Windows CE in its HD-DVD players, due out later this year. (A more detailed version of the story appears in the print edition of today's Times.)

So the jury is still out on which next-gen DVD camp will win. But either way, it looks like Microsoft software will be hiding inside the next media player you connect to your TV. Point: Gates!